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Cartier History

1847
Louis-Francois Cartier founded the legendary maison, by taking ownership of his master’s Parisian jewellery workshop.

1874
Louis-Francois’ son Alfred assumes control of the brand. His three sons Louis, Jacques, and Pierre will create the Cartier image we know today.

1888
Cartier creates the first ladies’ bracelet watch.

1899
Louis Cartier moves the brand’s headquarters to Rue de la Paix. The brand will remain at this address until the present day.

1904
The first Cartier wristwatch is created. Louis Cartier develops the Santos for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian flying legend. Santos-Dumont complains that pocket watches are unreliable and dangerous to use while flying, so Louis makes him a wristwatch with a square face and flat profile.

1907
Cartier signs an agreement giving Edmond Jaeger exclusive rights to supply the brand’s watch movements. It is the first step in a history that will see Cartier watches utilising movements from all the top maisons de haute horlogerie: Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and Movado. The brand now has offices in New York, St Petersburg and London.

1912
Cartier introduces its Tortue and Baignoire watches.

1914
The Cartier panther is born on a ladies’ watch. The image is created from paved diamonds and onyxes.

1917
Another legendary luxury watch is created: the Tank, designed by Louis Cartier after seeing Renault tanks in action on the Western Front. The Tank will go on to become Cartier’s signature model, worn by some of the most famous women in history. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie will all become fans of this piece.

1931
The Mystery pocket watch, featuring hands that rotate on concealed crystal discs, is created.

1938
Cartier makes a gift of one of its watches, at this time one of the smallest wristwatches ever created, to Princess Elizabeth II.

1940
Jacques Cartier gives his personal London office to General de Gaulle, from which he founds the Free France movement.

1947
Cartier celebrates its 100th birthday.

1972
Cartier is bought by a group of investors, and ceases to be a family-owned company.

1976
Cartier’s first collection of watches under the new ‘Les Must de Cartier’ slogan is revealed.

1985
The Pasha de Cartier watch is revealed.

1989
The legendary Cartier Tank receives its most famous update – the Tank Americaine. The longer, smoother case becomes an instant icon.

2004
The Santos 100, Santos-Dumont and Santos Demoiselle watches are premiered, in celebration of the centenary of the Cartier Santos luxury watch.

View our newest Cartier watches in stock as well as the latest additions to our pre-owned luxury watch collection here.

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